Boy lost in Utah found in mountains Malachi Bradley, center, smiles at his brother Levi as he is reunited with his family, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, in Uintah County, Utah, after being lost near the Wyoming border on Sunday. (Ravell Call/The Deseret News via AP)
Boy lost in Utah found in mountains
Lexile

Malachi Bradley was searching for wild mushrooms in eastern Utah when he realized he had wandered too far from the mountain lake where he was hiking with his father and siblings.
 
The 10-year-old boy tried looking for a road to flag down a driver. But the area about 200 miles east of Salt Lake City was too remote. He remembered the survival skills his father taught him. Eventually, he hunkered down between rocks still warm from the sun to shield himself from the cold mountain night.
 
"It was weird not having anybody with me, but I just kept going. I knew I had to make it back, or my family would be really sad," Malachi said. Over the nearly 30 hours he was missing in the rugged backcountry, he found river water to drink. And he even tried unsuccessfully to catch a fish with a spear made from a stick.
 
Meanwhile, dozens of search-and-rescue workers were combing the area on horses and ATVs, as well as in the air, but they couldn't spot Malachi in the wooded terrain.
 
Back at the campground in Uinta Mountains, his mother, Molly Chrisman, was on edge. She had heard about a 5-year-old Arizona boy who wandered away from a campsite while chasing grasshoppers and died of exposure.
 
"I felt like the forest was so huge," she said. "They were showing pictures on a map of how many people they had on the ground, and it felt like it was a tiny amount compared to the vast place that was the forest."
 
As night fell and temperatures dipped into the 30s, Malachi wrapped his T-shirt around his legs. He huddled in his jacket and shielded himself from the weather between the rocks. The residual warmth helped him get through the night, though it also threw off infrared heat detectors used by the search teams as it got dark, police said.
 
Back at Paul Lake, his father, Danny Bradley, and a friend who had joined them for camping were keeping a fire burning. They hoped the boy might wander back on his own. As the hours wore on, Bradley imagined his son alone in the woods and was terrified that he might be hurt.
 
"I was just hoping he was able to stay warm enough," the father said.
 
The next day, Malachi heard a police helicopter flying overhead. He knew the searchers aboard the craft couldn't see him through the trees, so he started walking again until he found a clearing.
 
He stayed there, briefly falling asleep, until a search plane spotted him from the air. A helicopter landed to pick him up Aug. 24.
 
When she saw it land, his mother was overwhelmed with relief.
 
"He's healthy and he's coming up and this is going to be all over and it's not a tragedy," Chrisman said. Medical staff declared him cold and hungry but otherwise fine.
 
Malachi was found about 5 miles southeast of where he went missing, Uintah County Sheriff Vance Norton said. It appeared that he wandered down a ravine and over a hill before he found the clearing.
 
Though the night was cold, Malachi was lucky that temperatures didn't drop further and no sudden storms developed in the high-elevation area, Norton said.
 
Malachi said he'll go camping again, but next time he'll stay close to other people.
 
"I'll learn from my mistakes," he said.

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COMMENTS (102)
  • sarahr-moo
    9/03/2015 - 10:08 a.m.

    Thankfully, the boy knew some survival skills to keep him alive.

  • logana-moo
    9/03/2015 - 10:09 a.m.

    I don't think I would make it half that distance. Smart kid

  • morgand-moo
    9/03/2015 - 10:09 a.m.

    I think all kids should be taught survival skills because if Malachi's dad didn't teach him, then he may not have made it. This article is very interesting and it shows that if you're in a dangerous situation, don't panic and just focus on making it out.

  • kaitlynb-moo
    9/03/2015 - 10:10 a.m.

    It was very smart of the boy to not worry and use his survival skills as he was taught.

  • sidneyw-moo
    9/03/2015 - 10:13 a.m.

    It is amazing how he survived on his own for thirty hours! It's is also amazing that a ten year-old kid could stay alive on his own in the wilderness.

  • justinc-1-moo
    9/03/2015 - 10:13 a.m.

    This is crazy! It is very fortunate that the boy knew survival skills from his father. Otherwise who knows what would have happened to the boy.

  • raigenb-moo
    9/03/2015 - 10:13 a.m.

    I think learning survival skills saved Malachi's life. He is very lucky and should be proud of himself that he could do something like that at such a young age.

  • ashtonw-moo
    9/03/2015 - 10:13 a.m.

    He stayed in between two rocks that were still warm from the sun. He was smart to do that I know I wouldn't know to do that.

  • laylaw-moo
    9/03/2015 - 10:15 a.m.

    This article is kind of scary but I'm glad that Malachi is ok. He seemed to know a lot about what to do in the situation he was in. He acted very smart and I think that's what kept him safe.

  • mayciw-moo
    9/03/2015 - 10:15 a.m.

    I thought it was neat that he knew what to do when lost and was able to survive and be found. He figured out a place to sleep and stayed warm enough in the cold 30 degrees weather.

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